What Is Email Spoofing?

Have you ever received an email from someone that seemed suspicious? Chances are, it could have been a spoofed email. Email spoofing is a type of cybercrime in which hackers send emails to unsuspecting recipients under false identities to commit fraud or spread malware. It’s important to understand why email spoofing is so popular among hackers and how to spot a spoofed email. In this article, we’ll discuss what email spoofing is, how it works, and how to protect yourself from cyberattacks.

What Is Email Spoofing?

Email spoofing involves forging an email header to appear as though it originated from someone or somewhere other than the true source. Email spoofing is often employed in spam and phishing campaigns since it can trick recipient servers into thinking that an email is from an alleged sender.

For example, a phisher could send an email with malicious links that appear to be from a bank or other financial institution, requesting that the recipient click on a link or provide login information.

Domain spoofing attempts can also be used for more benign purposes, such as making it appear as if an email was sent from a different address than it was (e.g., sending a message from a personal account but making it appear as if it came from a work account).

Email spoofing is relatively easy to do and can be difficult to detect. To protect yourself from spoofing attacks, it’s important to be aware of spoofed email messages and follow best practices for keeping your information safe.

What Are The Types Of Spoofing?

Email spoofing can be broken down into three different types:

Spoofing Via Display Name

Display name spoofing involves changing the display name on an email so that it appears to be coming from someone else. The assumed sender address will include their email address in the “from” field but change the display name so that it appears as if it’s coming from someone else.

Spoofing Via Legitimate Domains

This domain spoofing involves using a domain name that looks like an actual company domain but is not actually owned by them. For example, a scammer may register “apple-store-uk.com” instead of “apple-store-uk.co.uk” to trick people into thinking they are sending emails from Apple UK when they aren’t affiliated with them at all. These cyber criminals try to hack social media accounts by email protocols and email servers.

Spoofing Via Lookalike Domains

These spoofed emails involve registering domain names similar to real domain addresses. This way, they can easily trick people into believing they are legitimate emails from real companies or people, even though they aren’t affiliated with them.

How Do Hackers Spoof Your Email Address? 

The process is actually quite simple. First, the hacker will send out a mass email to a list of the sender address. This email will typically contain a link or attachment that looks legitimate. When the recipient clicks on the link or opens the attachment, they will be directed to a website almost identical to the real thing.

However, this site is fake, and the hacker will collect any information entered into it. This can include login credentials, financial information, and more. Hackers can then use this information to gain access to accounts, make fraudulent charges, and more.

How Email Spoofing Is Different From Phishing Attacks

An email spoofing attack is a type of email fraud that occurs when someone uses a forged sender address to trick the recipient into believing that the email is coming from a legitimate source. Phishing, on the other hand, is a type of online fraud that occurs when someone tries to acquire personal information (such as passwords or credit card numbers) by masquerading as a trustworthy source.

Both email spoofing and phishing attacks can be used to steal sensitive information. Email spoofing relies on social engineering techniques to trick the user, while phishing uses malicious websites or attachments to infect the user’s computer with malware.

What Are The Reasons For Email Spoofing? 

Email spoofing is used for a number of malicious purposes, including fraud and identity theft. By masquerading as someone else, criminals can send emails that appear to be from a legitimate source to gain access to personal information. Here are some of the major reasons for email spoofing:

To Spread Malware and Viruses 

Spammers often use email spoofing to get their malicious software into the recipient’s inbox of unsuspecting victims. By sending an email from a seemingly reputable company’s email address, spammers can make their messages appear more legitimate and increase the chances that users will click on them. The virus or malware contained in the user inboxes can then be used to steal sensitive information or take control of computers.

To Steal Identities 

Scammers also use email spoofing as part of identity theft schemes. They often create fake emails that look like they’re coming from banks, credit card companies, or other financial institutions in order to gain access to personal information such as passwords and Social Security numbers.

By using this information, scammers can open accounts in someone else’s name and steal money from them or even purchase items on their behalf without the knowledge of email clients.

To Get Access to Sensitive Data 

Phishers use email spoofing in order to gain access to sensitive data such as login credentials for online banking accounts, credit card numbers, and other private information. They often pose as representatives from legitimate businesses or organizations through a mail server to get victims to share their confidential data. Once they have this data, they can use it for any number of nefarious purposes.

To Cover Their Tracks 

Hackers also use spoofed messages to cover up their tracks after infiltrating a computer system or network. By sending out malicious emails that appear as though they come from another sender’s email address, hackers can divert attention away from themselves while still achieving their goals of stealing data or compromising email security measures within a system.

Steps to Protect Against Email Spoofing 

Email spoofing is one of the most prevalent forms of cyber-attacks in today’s digital age. Email spoofing is the act of sending an email that appears to be coming from the company or individual they are targeting. If you do not take the necessary steps to protect your business against this attack, you risk being a victim of fraud and other malicious activities. So, what can you do to protect yourself? Let’s look at tips on how to protect against email spoofing.

Check The Domain Name

One of the simplest ways to spot an email spoof is by checking the legitimate domains name in the sender’s address. If it doesn’t match the company or person claiming to be sending it, then it’s likely a fake email.

Check For Typos

Typos are another telltale sign of an email account spoof. Legitimate companies rarely make mistakes when sending sensitive data, so if you see typos in the body text or subject line of an email, it may be a sign that it isn’t authentic and can cause a phishing attack. Additionally, look out for emails with incorrect grammar or unfamiliar language, as these could indicate suspicious websites.

Look For Suspicious Attachments/Links

Spoofed emails often contain malicious attachments or links that redirect users to phishing websites designed to steal information such as passwords and credit card numbers. Always be wary of unexpected attachments and never click on unfamiliar links as they could potentially lead to malicious URLs or download malware onto your computer online accounts without your knowledge.

Technical Precautions 

The next step in protecting your business from email spoofing is to ensure that you have taken the necessary technical precautions. This includes ensuring that your website has proper authentication protocols and that your email server is secure and protected from unauthorized access.

Additionally, it is important to keep all software up to date with the latest security patches and ensure that any suspicious emails are reported immediately, and your emails reach only the intended recipient.

Use Email Signing Certificates 

Another way to protect yourself against email spoofing is by using an email signing certificate. It allows you to digitally sign emails so recipients can be sure that the message originated from you, not someone pretending to be you.

This helps prevent impersonation attempts and ensures recipients trust your emails as genuine correspondence. It also makes it easier for recipients to identify phishing attempts because they can quickly see whether or not an email was truly sent by you or someone else.

Conduct Reverse IP Lookups 

One tip for protecting yourself against email spoofing is conducting reverse IP lookups when receiving suspicious emails. This means looking up the IP addresses associated with an incoming and outgoing messages.

Then search for any other message header sent from this same address to determine if they were sent by a legitimate user or just someone pretending to be them. If you find multiple messages with different content originating from the same IP address, then it’s likely a spoofing case and should be reported immediately.

Audit Email Accounts  

Finally, it’s important to regularly audit your various email accounts to identify any suspicious activity, such as strange logins or unusual activity patterns. By doing this regularly, you can quickly detect any potential threats before they become too serious and take action accordingly.

Use Anti-Spoofing Software

Another way to protect against email spoofing is by using anti-spoofing software. It will help you identify a fake sender address or spoofed email addresses through authentication reporting and conformance.

Thankfully, there are three records you can use to protect your domain from email spoofing: SPF records, DKIM records, and DMARC records. Let’s break down each of these records so that you can better understand how to protect your domain DNS by domain-based message authentication against email spoofing to save your confidential information.

SPF Records 

DNS owners use Sender Policy Framework SPF to prevent spammers from using their domains as part of their spam campaigns. A DNS owner creates an SPF record in the Domain Name System (DNS), specifying which email servers should be allowed to send messages on behalf of their domain for email security.

If a message is sent from an unauthorized server or IP address, the recipient’s mail server will reject it. This helps reduce the chances of someone spoofing your domain name and sending out malicious messages under your name.

DKIM Records 

DNS owners also use DomainKeys Identified Mail (DKIM) to prevent spammers from using their domains for email spoofing attacks. It works similarly to a sender policy framework record, but instead of specifying which mail servers are allowed to send messages on behalf of the domain, it uses a cryptographic signature attached to each message sent out by the sender’s mail server.

When a recipient receives the message, their email headers can verify that this signature matches what was specified in the DNS record for the sender’s domain name. This helps ensure that only legitimate sender can send out messages with your domain name attached to them.

DMARC Records 

DMARC stands for “Domain-based Message Authentication Reporting & Conformance” and is used by DNS owners as an additional layer of protection against email spoofing. It works by combining SPF and DKIM records into one policy that specifies how incoming emails should be treated if they fail either or both authentication methods.

Summing Up!

Email spoofing can seriously threaten your organization and its data, so it’s important to take the necessary steps to protect yourself from such attacks. By implementing the above measures, you can help ensure that your domain is safe from spoofing and other malicious activity.

Additionally, when you know all about email spoofing, you can be aware of suspicious email clients and take the necessary steps to protect yourself and prevent a business email compromise through email security.

Derik Belair

As President and CEO, Derik leads the vision, strategy and growth of Augmentt. Prior to founding Augmentt, Derik was the Vice President at SolarWinds, leading the digital marketing strategy for SolarWinds’ Cloud division. Derik has been working in the channel for over 20 years, starting his career as a channel sales rep at Corel Corp. and eventually becoming the first employee at N-able Technologies in April of 2000.
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